Sunday, April 19, 2009

NY Times On Jeff Goldblum: “The Case Of The Quirky Detective”

The New York Times has a very interesting article about Jeff Goldblum and his upcoming new role on Law & Order Criminal Intent (USA). The full article about Jeff titled “The Case of the Quirky New Detective can be found here. But, in case you can’t access the article for some reason, here are a few interesting tidbits:

AMONG the things you expect to see on the set of “Law & Order: Criminal Intent”: interrogation rooms, firearms, shifty-eyed suspects. Among the things you probably don’t expect to see: a baby grand piano. Among the things you definitely don’t expect to see: Jeff Goldblum improvising a jazz tune on that baby grand piano.

Yet there he was on a recent Friday afternoon at the Chelsea Piers studios, where “Criminal Intent” is produced, his sinewy, 6-foot-4 frame parked behind the keyboard of a Steinway as he tickled his way through a Gershwinesque composition. The scene that Mr. Goldblum was filming called for his character, an unconventional New York police detective recently returned to the force, to lull a witness into revealing details crucial to a murder investigation.

That his musical skills could actually have this effect on people, Mr. Goldblum later admitted, was “a little bit of poetic license, a leap and a conceit.” But, he added, “I’m supposed to be brilliant, so it’s O.K....”

As Mr. Goldblum sees it, a detective, like an actor, must be perpetually inquisitive and a constant conduit of information. “You need to know,” he said methodically, “or be interested in as you watch him: What’s. He. Thinking?”

Audiences have probably asked themselves that same question about Mr. Goldblum, whose best-known film performances — a coterie of cracked geniuses in “The Fly,” “Jurassic Park” and “Independence Day” — can make one wonder how much of those characters’ twitchy, cerebral detachment he truly possesses. (The answer: a lot.)

It was this essential quality that Dick Wolf, the creator and executive producer of the “Law & Order” franchise, wanted from the actor when he cast him to replace Chris Noth, the “Law & Order” veteran who left the series last year.

As Mr. Wolf recalled in a telephone interview, when he met with Mr. Goldblum to offer him the part, he said, “I’m hiring you to be you, because it has to be like the oldest, most comfortable leather jacket in your closet. If you walk onto a set and think, ‘What would my character do?,’ we’re not writing the right character.”...

The rigors of a weekly television series would seem to frustrate this philosophy. But Mr. Goldblum said he was enjoying “Law & Order” (“it’s a ducky job, just awfully peachy”) because it was forcing him to make quick decisions — quicker than he is used to — while teaching him that he can learn to live with the consequences.

“My state-of-the-art thinking about it,” he said, “is to just do as much as I can without becoming hysterical in a way that’s going to undermine the whole thing.”

Jeff will make his first appearance on Law & Order Criminal Intent (USA) on Sunday, April 26, 2009.

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1 comment:

Ida said...

I have never watched LaO before, but I think Jeff's prescence may get me to start watching. I read this article a while ago and thought it was very interesting. :D